Inspiration for the Proposal
Traditions have always worked to inspire our future activities and designs that make us combine the technology today and traditional designed furnitures so as to create attractive pieces of furniture. Our group planned to explore different ways of maximizing the use of Accoya and minimize the waste incurred during felling trees. This is a way of conserving Wyre forest as well as reducing wastage. The proposal was to come up with naturally made stools that do not require a lot of craft work but through diversity we had to come together to brainstorm concrete ideas that favored each person’s ideologies.
We designed a multi-functional seating which uses the different rounded cutoffs from the Accoya tree that is soft wood but highly treated to be more like a hard wood to make an impressive design. The stool can be widely used in a wide range of purposes both indoors and outdoors and can permanently be planted in the open areas in the forest for those who are camping for seminars and bonding sessions. The arrangements of different segments being shaped and stuck together in a brilliant way gives it a new stunning look. This also gives chance for the craft man to determine the size of the desired stool from a chopping board piece a rolling stool, bathroom/shower stool and the bar stool.
Our inspiration was driven from the traditional seats that were barely tree stumps that were at times smoothened on top with rocks. When one wanted to make them higher he would just stack up several of them together. These were mostly used by African leaders to show supremacy like the golden stool of the Ashanti to show the heart of the king in West Africa or when making judgment to act as the symbol of power and judgment (BBC New story of Africa, 2015).
Teachings by John Ruskin on Group Dynamics and Craftmanship
Taking keen lessons from John Ruskin’s book “the stones of Venice” that the mass of the society is made-up of morbid thinkers and miserable workers. Now it is only through labor that thoughts can be made healthy and only through thoughts that labor can be made happy and the two cannot be separated by impunity, we decided to put together our ideas and craftsmanship and come up with a unique but natural thing. This was to maintain the touch of the environment our chairs would always grace. With a desire for group theory and bringing people together for gatherings family meetings and enhancing the bond of friendship, our group designed the best chairs that combined environmental conservancy and minimization of cutoff wastage. These chairs would bring nature lovers closer to Wyre forest as they conduct their activities and enhance commercial opportunities to the Wyre forest company. Ruskin’s attempts towards social reforms only made him realize that the virtual of originality that men so strain after is not newness as they vainly think; it is genuineness as there is nothing new (Modern Painters 2, 1846). Jointly through the different skills, we wanted to come up with something that was genuine if not new and a thing that would bring the community back to Wyre and instill the reason for stability in unity. The essence of stability will be a great lesson from our chair as one has to uphold a lot of discipline, patience and stability to remain seated for long hours on this chair.
We decided to move to the hills. As Ruskin says in (the stones of Venice, 1846) an architect should live as little in the cities and so should a painter. Send him to our hills and let him study there, what nature understands by buttress and what by a dome. This was a guideline of what John Ruskin meant by promoting a sense of unity through our likes which determine who we are.
The Teak Stool Inspirational Architecture
Our inspiration was driven from the teak stool which is one of a kind that has been naturally made with few improvements to stand as an outdoor piece of furniture. This type of seat was used in the traditional communities especially in West Africa as a symbol of power and wisdom. The stool was made from natural uprooted tree stumps shaped well and furnished to an authentic look. With the desire to improve this piece of art to more than just a seat we borrowed a lot from the teak stool. The stool stands
The teakwood design was made from tree cut offs stacked together in different kinds of shapes figures and styles to make a one of its own kind of chair. With the desired number of people the chairs can be arranged in different designs to make beautiful decorations in the forest depending on the occasion and the number of occupants.
The teak stools can be used in leisure parks schools and even hotels as a hub where people can come to interact and socialize. It can also take different interior designs to provide a table of two with privacy to act as a rendezvous and a place of relaxation. When properly treated the Accoya tree provides durable furniture that does not easily as a perfect table where one can place his/her utensils when taking meals or a swimming pool platform to place ones towels as they swim. chip, sprinter or crack. Another advantage is that the treated Accoya is moisture resistant and can be well furnished to produce a natural beauty of hard wood. The only disadvantage with our seat was that it can easily topple especially when handled by children. Extra care is required to avoid destruction or accidents with young children. Moreover the wood can easily get stained with oil and will require regular treatment especially when left under the sun to maintain its silvery color.
Exploration of the Sizes and Shape
With the acceptance of this piece of furniture from all the members we had to explore different possibilities of the sizes height and shapes that the seat would take. The top will be a platform of preferably 20 cm in diameter with the rest of the platforms in a decreasing diameter to this. The height of the stool will depend on the desired size at the time.
A larger diameter will be preferred so that we can give the platform any basic shape of our choice without reducing the seating allowance too much. The stamps with larger diameters can be used to make tables and stands for placing things like TVs. This will provide a full set of furniture that can be used even in the kitchen as a bench for leaning as one performs chores, as a shower bench, as a foot rest etc. Throughout our exploration, we discovered that most cutoffs are left to decay in the forest or used as firewood. Thus, in our proposal we will reduce the felling of trees and deforestation of Wyre forest promoting conservation. This will encourage the community to join us both in the use of natural materials to enhance beauty and also conserve the Mother Nature. The pieces will first be collected and cleaned thoroughly before being treated to make them hard wood. Then they will be carefully shaped as desired and bundled together to make an outstanding seat that will be beckoning for everyone to sit on.
The Group Dynamics
Formation- On our first day, the group did not perform as expected as people came with all kind of ideas and everyone wanted to be heard and their contributions to hold. This may have been due to lack of experience in operating in a group. Despite this, the members were able to create a pool of ideas that laid a strong foundation to the success of the project.
Brainstorming on the Ideas
Everyone was encouraged to come up with all kinds of crazy ideas of the best multi- functional seat they have ever seen or thought of. Through this process members were able to learn how to build up from each other’s invention and develop it to a concrete idea. When one plan failed to work they would easily pick up another one and asses it and try to improve the basics to make it a comprehensive group proposal and not the proposer’s idea.
Creating the Norms
The members made a truce to combine the conflicting ideas to elevate their work to a professional level. Working together did not just create the projects goal but also made it enjoyable and we were able to understand each other. We could form splitter groups of people with similar ideas to help us overcome the weaknesses of those who could not voice out their ideas in the larger group. We were able to jump the handles of our different way of thinking through positive criticism of the splitter group ideas and embrace unity in our diversity.
Forming the Concrete Project
By the end of it all, we were able to come up with a single project which we were ready to put fresh on the skeleton ideas and construct our multi-functional seat. We chose a group interim manager to oversee that the project is undertaken smoothly and also coordinate the members in their delegated duties. We were projected to finish the experimental project in three weeks.
Experimentation Stage of the Project
We divided the group into three with each subgroup with a task to enhance easiness in the project. The first group was tasked to research and get the best tree to use for the project and its availability in Wyre forest. The second group was to look for the best treatment and furnish that would go with the seat and the tools required affecting the project. The last group was to come up with the designs and the shapes that would be appropriate and attractive to everyone. This group was also tasked to decide the size
of the seat bearing in mind that Wyre forest was visited by children, youth and the old. This would help the group to reduce the time of undertaking one thing at a time.
After the first visit, the groups came together with their finding and tabled the materials ready for experimentation. The treatment and shaping took the largest part of our time but we were determined to use the remaining time to complete the project in time. This also taught us the virtual of time management and togetherness in relation to group dynamics. The group manager delegated work to different members and kept reshuffling us in different groups to enhance our interaction with all members. We were able to come up with two of our best made stools by the end of the set time to act as perfect examples of a new line of commercial activity in wyre forest.
Having interacted with all the group members and worked with them at a personal level enabled me to expound my understanding of the group dynamic. I was able to appreciate the diversity people have in their ideas, thoughts and expatriate in different levels of work. I learnt the art of listening at one person at a time and brainstorming on an idea conclusively before thrashing it out completely. We were also able to learn that we should be able to take criticism without hurt feelings and accept the feedback from our members within the group so that we can explore diversity.
Our success can be attributed to the cooperation that was build up during the entire process and the ability to communicate when issues concerning the ideas, designs and shape came up. Through this group we were able to learn to respect and follow the directions from the leader which has prepared us adequately for professional practice in the corporate world. The problem solving skills that were instilled by members and the rules that we had set for ourselves instilled discipline and obedience within the group helping us to overcome the challenges and accomplish a goal which we couldn’t on individual basis and provide a fun way to acquire knowledge and skills.
In the beginning of our project some of our members had fear in working in a group because it was their first time but as we progressed they were able to open up and form a working dynamic. If this project was to be advanced to later stages I am sure we would come up with other mega projects at a shooter time period. This is because people would be more equipped with skills in communication and listening that lacked in our initial stages of our project. More so people who could not articulate their thoughts due to lack of group coordination would have a chance through the managerial skill learnt on letting everyone have a say n the group. Despite this being an offshore project with other daily commitments people were able to embrace time management and excuse themselves when things pushed them between the rock and a hard ground. All in all the group was to contribute to their level best and support each other throughout the project instilling confidence among the member and giving credit of the success to all.